New Market Bar-B-Q

15 Oct 2012
Average Cost ($8-$14)
5 out of 5

Melanie’s Take

Four MeatsI haven’t taken an official count, but I’d be willing to guess that there are more barbecue joints in North Alabama than any other type of cuisine. Well, maybe Mexican restaurants might edge them out, but either way, there are tons of places where you can get pulled pork, baked beans, and potato salad. We’re so inundated with them that it’s often hard to tell what sets one apart from another. I definitely felt that way until Shane and I tried New Market Bar-B-Q. We first heard about them when we had some of their food at Taste of Huntsville last year, and we’d been meaning to eat there for almost a year now. We finally made it out, and I cannot use enough superlatives to emphasize how good it was. It was really good. It was really, really good. It was really stinkin’ super good.

The building and its owners are unassuming. The dining room is a glorified screened in porch with ceiling fans to keep the air moving. When we came in, Libby, the personable owner, greeted us and took our order, offering suggestions along the way. We had one of my sisters with us, so we opted for the family special with our choice of four meats, four sides, and four, that’s right, four desserts. We ordered thinking that we would have leftovers, but that was before we realized that we would instead be licking our platters clean.

Three DessertsOur meat selections were all better than average (pulled pork, smoked chicken, brisket, and turkey breast), but my standout favorite was the turkey. It was flavorful in a good smoky way that turkey often isn’t and was incredibly moist. I would eat it in place of Thanksgiving turkey any day. We also sampled a smattering of barbecue sauces that were each tasty in their own sweet, smoky, or spicy ways.

Where New Market Bar-B-Q separates itself from other barbecue spots is in the sides it offers. Many times, barbecue places will focus so much on their meat offerings that the sides take a backseat or are sometimes just plain tasteless. What we absolutely could not believe is how every single item we tried matched the best of its kind we’d ever had before. The smac and cheese (smoked mac and cheese)? Delicious. Baked beans? Also Delicious. Potato Salad? So Tasty. Peanut Butter Pie? Unreal. Pecan Pie? You’d hurt someone to get a piece. Does it seem like I’m being a little dramatic about the food? Well, it was just that good. Before you load up the car and go, check out their hours, which are only kept on the weekends. (Fri/Sat 11-7 and Sun 11-4)

Shane’s Take

You remember that scene in A Christmas Story where Ralphie imagines his curmudgeonly teacher Miss Shields bursting into glee, dancing and singing after reading his wonderful essay? Exhausted by his classmates’ dreadful essays, she could hardly bear to read another, but Ralphie’s brilliant essay instantly brought back her energy and recovered her long-lost love for teaching.

I am Miss Shields. New Market BBQ is Ralphie’s essay.

Inside New Market Bar-B-Q

From the time we arrived at New Market Bar-B-Q to the time we wheelbarrowed our full bellies into the car, I enjoyed our visit. The rustic and serene atmosphere reminded me of growing up in the county. The grass and tree-covered surroundings, the country decor, and the screen windows put me in a nostalgic trance about the “good ol’ days” the minute we walked in, but the familiar Facebook F and the credit card monikers reminded me that we weren’t stuck in Alabama’s simple but ugly past. As strange as it sounds, I was overcome with joy at the thought that I could enjoy delicious old-school southern food in this barn-looking place alongside a minority and no one think less of either of us. I mean, times may be tough right now, but they aren’t nearly as bad as they used to be, are they?

Better than the atmosphere was the food. I was impressed with everything we tried. As I tried one food and then another, I felt like the contestant on Price is Right who places perfect plinks at Plinko, rolls $1.00 on the big wheel, rolls another $1.00 on the big wheel, and then takes both showcases in the Showcase Showdown. The difference was that no dish gave me the letdown you get when you realize you just won a new car that happens to be a Ford Escort. As I moved from one dish to the next (yes, it was a dozen different foods), my glee increased as I began to conclude that nothing was going to bad. No Ford Escorts. No duffel bags for two. No 10-piece sets of bright orange Tupperware. Everything was going to taste great, and everything did taste great. I’ve never eaten such a wide variety of great food from one restaurant.

Four Sides

We’ve eaten at a lot of places, some of them good, some bad, many of them forgettable. We’ve offered 5 forks to only two places: Watercress for its superb execution of the fine dining experience and the incredible bread pudding, and The Eaves for the chicken saltimbocca sandwich, the best sandwich either of us have eaten (and I can’t forget Cafe Lemon Bleu, which we foolishly gave only 4 forks but was at one point Huntsville’s best restaurant). New Market Bar-B-Q joins them for its great atmosphere and incredible smattering of quality. Whether a peanut butter pie, a slice of brisket, or a forkful of baked beans, the food at New Market BBQ is good. Not “that’ll do” good but “wow, that’s tasty” good. I know no other restaurant whose every dish is so delicious. I can’t wait to return.

Last things to chew on:

  • If you make a trip, I recommend the turkey, the smac-and-cheese, and the pecan pie.
  • If you’re looking to feed your locavore appetite, New Market Bar-B-Q is a great place to visit. It’s run by real people trying to make an honest living, and you’re sure to meet one of them while you’re there.
  • For us city slickers, the drive out to New Market is a nice diversion from The Parkway and University Drive. You’ll get to see some pretty countryside and some Alabama quirks on the drive.
  • The dining room has no air conditioning, so dress lightly if you plan on dining in on a summer afternoon.
  • The prices are good. Being barbeque, it’ll cost you more than a trip to BK, but, well, it’s crazy good, so it’s worth it.
  • Since you asked: No, we weren’t paid or compensated for our review. It really is that good.
New Market BBQ on Urbanspoon

2 Responses

  1. This is an AMAZING Restaurant Review Melanie and Shane! We are just so HUMBLED and PROUD!! THANKs for what you guys do! It is really something special when people take pride in their local economy and help SHARE about the business’ in this way. It really does HELP grow exposure and we are honored that we exceeded your expectations and received a 5 FORK Review! We are so BLESSED!!! THANK YOU!!

  2. Jane Hillis

    I agree with both reviews 200%!! It’s their sides and desserts plus friendly owners that set them apart from just being a good BBQ joint to being a FANTASTIC BBQ place. Fortunately, I live only about 15 min. away and can satisfy my tastebuds on any given week-end. I’m so thrilled Libby & Kelly open up on Sunday after church so I don’t have to cook. The drive out there during Autumn and the homey atmosphere make it a destination restaurant. Makes for a great Fall Week-end outing with the family. Get some great Food, eat there on the porch or pinic pavillion beside the river or drive on up the mountain to Sewenee and it doesn’t get any better than if you drove all the way to the Smokies!! It’s That Good!!! Now, excuse me, while I go get a second bowl of Brunswick Stew and a piece of Almond Joy Cake!!

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